For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


Tina Fey, Garrison Keillor among the acclaimed novelists, poets, performers, and costumed children’s storybook characters who will enliven the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

PHILADELPHIA, February 1, 2011—This April, writers, poets, storybook characters, and literary exhibitors will gather together inside and outside the Parkway Central Library for the Free Library’s fifth annual Philadelphia Book Festival. The Festival begins on Monday, April 11 with evening events throughout the week, and concludes with a sensational Festival Street Fair on Philadelphia’s busy and beautiful Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, April 16, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

A burst of books, music, and inspiration, the Philadelphia Book Festival—which drew more than 30,000 people from the Mid-Atlantic region last year—embraces literacy, creativity, and the arts with a diverse array of free and ticketed events for all members of the community. Additionally, the six-day Book Festival will take place this year during National Library Week, which celebrates the important contributions of libraries and librarians across the country.

Highlights of the festival include:

• Headline author appearances and events Monday through Friday, including:
     -Tina Fey, the first-ever female head writer of Saturday Night Live, currently writes and stars in the Emmy Award-winning show 30 Rock. Bossypants is her collection of funny and observant essays on modern life. 
     -Garrison Keillor, host of the public radio program A Prairie Home Companion, will discuss his new anthology of poetry, Good Poems, American Places. 
     -Kay Ryan, two term U.S. poet laureate, will share some of her favorite poems.
     -First Person Inter-City StorySlam, during which storytellers from Philadelphia and Boston will compete against each other with stories related to the theme: “Experiments.”
• Children’s Storybook Parade
• Teddy Bear Picnic
• Poetry
events include readings, a teen poetry slam, and an evening of French poetry presented in collaboration with the Philadelphia International Festival of Arts.

“We at the Free Library are thrilled that our fifth-annual Festival has grown into a wonderful, week-long extravaganza,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “The Festival is our chance to celebrate all the wonderful and creative things the Library does year-round during one exciting week. With renowned authors, performers, and interactive events for children, teens, and adults, it’s no wonder we’re known as the Free Library of Big Ideas.”

Additional Festival Happenings and Information

Author Events for All Ages: Saturday, April 16
The Free Library of Philadelphia will feature some of today’s most exciting children’s authors, illustrators, and YA writers during Saturday’s day-long family extravaganza. This year’s guests include Walter Dean Myers—author of Carmen and the winner of two Newbery Honor awards, five Coretta Scott King Awards, and the Michael L. Printz Award; Chris Van Allsburg, the National Book Award and two-time Caldecott Award winner for Jumanji and The Polar Express; the 2011 Caldecott Medal winners for A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Erin and Philip Stead; two 2011 Coretta Scott King Award winners, Sonia Lynn Sadler and Bryan Collier; Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball and the two-time recipient of both the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and the Caldecott Honor; and Kathryn Erskine, winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, who will be on site to discuss her book Mockingbird, about an artistically gifted 11-year-old girl with Asperger’s syndrome. 

Storybook Parade: Saturday, April 16 at 12:00 p.m.
The young—and young at heart—are invited to march down Vine Street alongside their favorite storybook characters, including the Berenstain Bears, Curious George, Corduroy, Madeline, and Toot and Puddle, during a character parade.

Teddy Bear Picnic: Saturday, April 16 at 1:00 p.m.
On Sunday, children can again join some of their favorite friends at the Teddy Bear Picnic, complete with bear stories and a sing-along!

First Person Inter-City StorySlam: Friday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. (ticket required)
One of the most exciting draws at the Festival is the annual First Person Inter-City StorySlam. This year, storytellers from Philadelphia and Boston will compete against each other by spinning tales set to the theme “Experiments.” Philly is 1-1 in the series, having beat Chicago in the contest in 2008, but succumbing to Washington, D.C. during last year’s competition. This event is a joint venture of the Philadelphia Book Festival, First Person Arts, and the Philadelphia Science Festival.

Festival Street Fair: Saturday, April 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (rain or shine)
The Festival Street Fair is the largest literary street fair in the region. This free, open-air event will feature interactive exhibits, family-friendly events, and activities for all ages. Visitors will enjoy strolling through the Festival Street Fair, where they can purchase books and chat with literary the Festival’s numerous Literary Exhibitors, including The Gettysburg Review; The Jane Austen Society of North America, Eastern Pennsylvania Region; Temple University Press; and Star Cloud Press.


Philadelphia Science Festival
The Free Library of Philadelphia is excited to be a core collaborator in the Philadelphia Science Festival, a two-week, community-wide celebration of science featuring lectures, debates, exhibitions, and a variety of informal science experiences across Philadelphia. On Saturday, April 16, the Philadelphia Science Festival will present an outdoor Science Carnival in conjunction with the Book Festival Street Fair, making the Benjamin Franklin Parkway an unrivaled destination for fun, free, programming and live entertainment.

Philadelphia International Festival of Arts (PIFA)
The Free Library of Philadelphia is also delighted to be a partner of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), inspired by the Kimmel Center. In April 2011, PIFA launches the city's art and cultural scene onto the world stage with a three-week festival offering performances, exhibits, and events for loyal fans and casual attendees. Philadelphia Book Festival attendees can experience the Library's literary take on PIFA’s Paris at a French poetry salon on Thursday, April 14 and at the PIFA Franco-fun Activity Tent at the Festival Street Fair on Saturday, April 16.

The Philadelphia Book Festival would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors, including the Independence Foundation and Dietz & Watson. This year’s media sponsors are KYW Newsradio, 6abc, and the Philadelphia Media Network.

To find out more about the Philadelphia Book Festival, please visit or call 215-686-5322.

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850